Telford's high streets are on the up following £1.5 million council funding project
A real improvement has been seen in high streets across Telford & Wrekin as a result of a £1.5 million investment from the local authority, according to a council boss.
Cabinet member Lee Carter outlined the progress made in the Pride in Our High Streets programme at a council cabinet meeting.
The programme was launched in 2015 by Telford & Wrekin Council to invest more than £1.5 million in supporting business in the borough's high streets.
Phase one of the programme was completed in March, with more than 30 projects supported as a result £800,000 council investment.
The most high profile project funded was Let’s Go Quackers, which increased visitor numbers in Ironbridge and Southwater, and generated £32,000 for charities Severn Hospice and the Jayne Sargent Foundation.
Councillor Carter outlined further work that was planned, with £700,000 earmarked to bring empty properties back into use, improving shop fronts and facades and working with parish and town councils to market and promote their high streets.
He also explained how 1,000 young people have been involved in a challenge to come up with ideas to improve the high street, and now three schools will see their ideas delivered and supported by funding of between £10,000 and £20,000.
More than 60 enquiries have been made for empty unit retail grants, and a pilot scheme is now being delivered to bring public wifi to areas in towns across the region, above what is already available through public buildings, cafes and other hot spots.
Councillor Arnold England praised the pilot scheme and said: "Shops have a shop front but they are hybrid businesses. They trade on the high street but they also work with online sales and this is helping that."
Deputy leader Richard Overton said it was key that the authority keeps investing in borough high streets.
He added: "Since this administration came in in 2011 it has focused on high streets in borough towns. They are not just a place to shop, they are places to go to the chemist, to the doctors, and they want to have some worth going there.
"Grants are welcomed by businesses in the borough towns, and I really think we should always watch that our towns are doing and keep committing to invest in the high streets to make them a worth while place to go."